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Animal Friendship too expensive?

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I've always thought so, but never paid it too much attention until now when a player wants to get it in our fantasy hero campaign and was also questioning the cost. 

 

In the talent explanation section at the end of 6th Ed vol.1, it says it is built as providing +3 to all PRE rolls for all categories of the Animal Handler skill. But even then, 20 points doesn't seem correct. 

 

You can get skills level with "all interaction" skills, which would include Animal Handler, for just 4 points. So a +3 roll would only cost 12 cp and that would cover every interaction (PRE) skill, not just Animal Handler. 

 

In my mind something like:

 

Animal Friendship: +3 with all Interaction skills (only with Animals, -1) AP:12, RC: 6 

 

And that is being generous that it is only a -1 limitation to have the skill levels only work with animals. It should probably be worth -2 given how often it would generally come up in most games. 

 

Heck, you could even build it like:

 

Animal Friendship II: +15 PRE (Only with Animals,-1) AP: 15 RC: 7

 

Which would actually be even more effective/powerful then the 20 pt. as written rule book version. 

 

Heck, 3 levels of Striking Appearance (+3/+3d6) only costs 9 points and that is against all human characters, or just 6 pts. when against one specific group of characters. 

 

So I could also see it built like:

 

Animal Friendship III: Striking Appearance (+3/+3d6) (animals only) Cost: 6pts. 

 

 

Can anyone point out why any of these wouldn't be correct or "legal"? The difference between a 20pts and 6pts is major in a standard level fantasy game. heck, it is major in a super hero level game.

 

Is there something I am missing as to why Animal Friendship costs so much as RAW?

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I have an infrequently appearing Player who is a Vet and therefore all her characters must have Animal Friendship - she's new to the system and hasn't really been around to play with us, but when building her character I agreed that the cost was high!

 

I do like the other options your giving here and will follow this thread with interest,,,  I'm inclined to go with the +15 Pre version as it makes the most sense to me.

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First, I won't say you're right, but you have a point. It's a big chunk of points.

 

To understand why, first, look at where I add some emphasis

 

I've always thought so, but never paid it too much attention until now when a player wants to get it in our fantasy hero campaign and was also questioning the cost. 

 

In the talent explanation section at the end of 6th Ed vol.1, it says it is built as providing +3 to all PRE rolls for all categories of the Animal Handler skill. But even then, 20 points doesn't seem correct.

If will make more sense if you actually look up the Animal Handler Skill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can get skills level with "all interaction" skills, which would include Animal Handler, for just 4 points. So a +3 roll would only cost 12 cp and that would cover every interaction (PRE) skill, not just Animal Handler.

Yep. And Skill Levels with a Skill you don't have are technically not very useful by my understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my mind something like:

 

Animal Friendship: +3 with all Interaction skills (only with Animals, -1) AP:12, RC: 6 

 

And that is being generous that it is only a -1 limitation to have the skill levels only work with animals. It should probably be worth -2 given how often it would generally come up in most games.

Okay, that would probably work for a character that does have Interaction Skills already and if you're willing to let someone try High Society to get a cat to respect them or Streetwise to impress a stray dog or Bureaucratics to ....okay, I don't know what you would use Bureaucratics for. But I can see using Charm, Bribery, Persuasion, and even Oratory (to howl just like an alpha wolf.) But in that case, if you have those Skills, doesn't that mean you can attempt those things against animals even if you don't have the Talent, you just don't get a bonus?

 

 

 

 

 

Heck, you could even build it like:

 

Animal Friendship II: +15 PRE (Only with Animals,-1) AP: 15 RC: 7

 

Which would actually be even more effective/powerful then the 20 pt. as written rule book version.

 

 

Heck, 3 levels of Striking Appearance (+3/+3d6) only costs 9 points and that is against all human characters, or just 6 pts. when against one specific group of characters. 

 

So I could also see it built like:

 

Animal Friendship III: Striking Appearance (+3/+3d6) (animals only) Cost: 6pts. 

 

 

Can anyone point out why any of these wouldn't be correct or "legal"?

 

I think I can.

 

I believe the rules assume that NORMAL PRE BASED SKILLS JUST DON'T WORK ON ANIMALS LIKE THEY DO ON PEOPLE. Look at the description of the Animal Friendship talent. It says you can befriend an animal with a PRE roll +3. If you think buying a +3 to PRE rolls only vs Animals gets you that, you're house ruling that ANYONE can attempt to befriend an animal with a simple PRE roll. Can they?

 

The assumption is that you need the specific Skill Animal Handler to handle animals. And the reason that gets so expensive is, Animal Handler is one of those Skills that is bought by categories. And even at 1 pt per, there are an awful lot of kinds of animals in a given world and they add up.

 

I'm not going to argue that the Talent SHOULD cost as much as it does, I'm personally dubious now about the whole "Category Skills" can of worms and have been for some time. But I hope I can at least explain why it's so costly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The difference between a 20pts and 6pts is major in a standard level fantasy game. heck, it is major in a super hero level game.

 

Is there something I am missing as to why Animal Friendship costs so much as RAW?

I think you might be missing two important points.

 

1. It is not the case that any given character can attempt to befriend any given beast with a simple PRE roll. Unless that's how you want it in your games, which is fine if you're clear on what you're doing.

 

2. Animal Handler (like Survival) is a danged expensive Skill if you want a comprehensive version of it.

 

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

I finally fixed it! Celebrating with a palindromedary

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All good points, Lucius. 

 

I guess it does depend on the campaign the game is set in. 

 

I was thinking more along the lines of what is mentioned in the Skill book:

 

 

 

In some cinematic campaigns, such as some Fantasy Hero campaigns or high-powered Pulp Hero games, splitting Animal Handler into categories may not work well. In those games, GMs can allow characters to buy Animal Handler as a typical Interaction Skill (3 Character Points for a PRE Based Roll, +1 to the roll for each +2 Character Points) and apply it to any type of animal.

 

 

(It also mentions that Charm can sometimes be used as a complimentary skill to Animal Handler, so that implies other Interaction skills could also be relevant in some circumstances)

 

I do feel that in most campaigns not putting Animal Handler into subcategories would work best, and instead just adding additional difficult modifiers for more unusual animals (like dragons(which I don't even know if they should count as they are generally intelligent creatures)) would be best.

 

And getting back to the cost of Animal Friendship, since the talent doesn't actually give you the Animal Handler skill (or any of the subcategories) to gain its full benefit the character would also need to have already spent 14 points in purchasing all of the Animal handler subcategories, making the full Skill/talent combo of being an expert with animals cost a crazy 34 character points.  

 

Unless the campaign is very animal focused (a party of Druids maybe) that seems prohibitively expensive. 

 

At 34 points, it is probably getting to the point where it would be more cost efficient to build the ability as a power (mind control: Animals) or something similar. 

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All of those "subcategory" skills like Survival etc end up being insanely too expensive for what you get.  I get the concept behind them, but its just not worth the price, and I strongly suggest people don't take them.  If your skill only works on some of its targets, that's a limitation not extra cost.

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I agree, if there is ever a 7th edition, I would recommend that subcategories for skills like Animal Handler, Survival & Riding be the optional rule for campaigns that focus on those types of elements, but in general campaigns just having the base skill should be enough and the standard. If I remember correctly, it is much like System Operations was a subcategory skill in 5th edition, that was turned into a "general" skill in 6th. 

 

Otherwise, most skills could be built with subcategories. Security Systems (physical, electronic), the same for lockpicking. Acrobatics (tumbling, bouncing, etc...) and that is just getting too crunchy and expensive for most games.

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I agree, if there is ever a 7th edition, I would recommend that subcategories for skills like Animal Handler, Survival & Riding be the optional rule for campaigns that focus on those types of elements, but in general campaigns just having the base skill should be enough and the standard.

Shouldn't Riding simply be a form of Combat Driving???  Likewise, shouldn't Combat Piloting be rolled in?  The only real differences between them are the TF's involved, right -- so why not one combat maneuvering skill to rule them all -- with the TF's making the difference???

 

Sure you're not 'in' an animal when 'driving it' ... but animals were basically THE vehicular transport prior to the invention of the internal combustion engine and the blimp.  And in futuristic worlds, ground vehicles tend to be replaced with multi-terrain vehicles (hovercraft for land/sea -- possibly even air) and the like.  On skills with TF's as differentiators would seem appropriate in a 7e, should it ever come out. 

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All of those "subcategory" skills like Survival etc end up being insanely too expensive for what you get.  I get the concept behind them, but its just not worth the price, and I strongly suggest people don't take them.  If your skill only works on some of its targets, that's a limitation not extra cost.

Yeah, I've never been a fan of the "subcategory" breakdown for skills. My preferred approach was that you just by the general skill and if you want your character to specialize in some areas, buy the appropriate complementary KS/SS/PS skills.

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It seems to me that skills, in general, unless one uses mainly general categories, have a cost that in not commensurate with their value, and almost no way to defray that cost.

 

The problem with only using the general categories is that it sort of flies in the face of Heroe's 'build what you imagine' premise, but it's at least manageable, as long as the GM is providing the opportunities for using the general skill as the player imagines. But, again, it's a bit at odds with what is best about Hero, imo.

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giving up. no escape from

The problem is that you are missing a closing quote way up. Wich the Forum Editor tries to compensate for by adding more at the end.

One of hte rules of programming: If you got that many syntax errors, it is usually the one single error way before that tripping it up horribly. You might have to go to Soucecode mode to fix it.

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I should note here that in my fantasy hero setting, I do have a cost structure much like Animal Friendship/Survival in one area.  In Herbalism, you have to purchase regions that you can use the skill in effectively, such as forest, desert, etc.  The reason I did so was because I was deliberately trying to drive the price up: Herbalism allows you to find and prepare mini potions from your surroundings, and some of them are quite potent.  What you get for your points is actually worth the cost in this case.

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And getting back to the cost of Animal Friendship, since the talent doesn't actually give you the Animal Handler skill (or any of the subcategories)

I believe it does. The cost is based on the cost of buying all the categories and the +3 bonus, I believe. That's exactly why it's so expensive.

 

to gain its full benefit the character would also need to have already spent 14 points in purchasing all of the Animal handler subcategories, making the full Skill/talent combo of being an expert with animals cost a crazy 34 character points.

Again, no. I think it's clear that the Talent is meant to replace the Skill, or to put it another way, the Talent basically IS the Skill as it would be bought with an absurd investment of points.

 

I suggest ruling that Animal Handler is not bought by categories and you just need to buy the Skill once, and if you still want a special "Animals Love Me" Talent, try Striking Appearance defined as working vs beasts.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Animal Handler: Palindromedaries

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Personally, I'd treat the PRE levels like mental classes (human, animal, machine, alien) in that they only affect a general mental class.  As for Animal Friendship, I agree that it seems over priced given you could buy +20 PRE for the same cost.  It has never come up in any of my games AFAIR.

 

If I had to rule on it, I would probably say it would give +4 to the roll, +4d6 PRE attacks or allow up to a +20 "effect".  By effect, normal animal handling allows a person to train an animal to do things on command.  These things are stuff the animal would want to do or wouldn't mind doing.  With Animal Friendship, the person can get the animal to do things it wouldn't want to do or won't normally do.

 

For example:  

 

Bob, the animal trainer, is training Legolas, a german sheppard.  He trains Legolas to attack on command, to sniff out people, and to stay.  Bob can do this all with normal animal handling.  While with Legolas, Bob is attacked by his girlfriend (Bob's a shmuck).  Legolas, does not stay and attacks the girlfriend against Bob's training, reacting like a dog might.  If Bob had animal friendship, Bob's training would prevent the dog from doing things it would want to do and Legolas would obediently stay until command to release.

 

Bob meets a new dog named Gimli, a rottweiler.  Bob has animal friendship.  the new dog is nervous and afraid.  Bob attempts to call the dog down with a presence attack and gets +4d6 for having animal friendship.  He then tries to get Gimli on a leash using Animal Handling and gets +4. 

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In Fantasy Hero Complete, all of the Skills were imploded (there are no sub-categories for skills such as Animal Handler), yet Animal Friendship is still a 20 CP Talent while a similar level of Animal Handler (+3) only costs 9 CP. They are even described similarly. Animal Handling is described as "Allow[ing] a character to train and control animals." and Animal Friendship is described as "Allow[ing] a character to... gain an animal's friendship, teach it a trick, or get it to perform some task.".

Issues like this are one of the reasons I rarely allow Talents in my campaigns (with the exception of a few which I approve of). The fact that they are essentially just pregenerated powers which aren't "showing their work" irks me to no end.

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Issues like this are one of the reasons I rarely allow Talents in my campaigns (with the exception of a few which I approve of). The fact that they are essentially just pregenerated powers which aren't "showing their work" irks me to no end.

Yet pregenerated powers that don't show their work are one of the most commonly suggested mechanisms for building a Hero game which would attract newcomers to the system. For those versed enough in the system to build their own powers, Talents can easily be viewed as "powers the GM has approved in advance", and/or "powers which are common in the game setting".

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Yet pregenerated powers that don't show their work are one of the most commonly suggested mechanisms for building a Hero game which would attract newcomers to the system. For those versed enough in the system to build their own powers, Talents can easily be viewed as "powers the GM has approved in advance", and/or "powers which are common in the game setting".

Yes, and I disagree with said suggestions almost every time they are leveled in a thread in which I am participating in. I believe that hiding your work just makes it harder for new players to learn the rules. I much prefer to provide reasonably detailed descriptions to accompany pregenerated Game Elements. 

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